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This is not an authentic Charleston recipe. The gravy in real shrimp & grits is always flavored by bacon, or at least some other type of pork. It's a rich, deep, brown, and absolutely delicious gravy served over white grits, not the yellow stuff. I was born and raised in Charleston, and frequent the places that the locals do regularly, and this doesn't really bring out the flavor of how this dish usually is prepared.
One BIG suggestion for those wishing to fix "shrimp and grits" or any other recipe calling for shrimp. Do NOT cook shrimp longer than 3 minutes or the shrimp will be tough. 3 minutes is the standard for cooking shrimp regardless of the size of the shrimp. For "shrimp and grits" add shrimp mixture to the grits at the last minute and stir well. Of course the traditional way to serve it is to pour some grits in each bowl and ladle the shrimp mixture on top. I just had one of the Charleston versions of "shrimp and grits" at Bobo's on James Island (south of Charleston) a week ago. Their version adds cheese, crumbled bacon, and grilled shrimp (in that order) on top of the bowl of grits. Other versions add bits of ham or smoked sausage in the "sauce" along with the shrimp which is added in the last 3 minutes of cooking. One version actually added lima beans, corn, and tomatoes to their shrimp mixture to put on top of the grits. Surprisingly it tasted good also. I tried the smoked sausage version at home a couple of days ago. It was wonderful. A good recipe for breakfast, brunch, lunch/dinner, or dinner/supper.
I tested this recipe before serving it to my supper club. For the big night I used a stick of butter instead of a tablespoon and as always I cooked the shrimp separately. It's easy to over cook shrimp if you throw it into the pot with everything else and rubbery shrimp is nasty! I saute it with butter onion and black pepper for 3 minutes and add it to the recipe just before serving. It was a big hit at supper club everybody wanted the recipe.
Wow...with a little tweeking this was excellent! I added 2 tablespoons of bacon grease 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 15oz jar of Monteryjack salsa con queso also used evaporated milk inplace of just plain milk....tasted ALOT like the shrimp and grits at Poogan's Porch in Charleston SC....excellent! Thanks for posting this recipe!
While this is an ok variation on Shrimp-n-Grits its not really a Charleston recipe. As with other commenters true blue Charlestonians use bacon for the smoke flavoring which is fried and removed from the pan (my family and most folks we knew used "butts meat " kind of a meatier smoked salt pork while non-pork eaters might use some other smoked meat sauteed in vegetable oil; floured and seasoned shrimp is lightly fried/sauteed in the remaining oil then removed to drain on paper towels; a little yellow or Vidalia onion is sauteed in the same oil; a roux is made from some of the remaining oil with flour; a nice light brown gravy is made from the roux and seasoned with salt and pepper; add the shrimp to the gravy and simmer a couple of minutes. Serve over creamy hominy grits with a little of the smoked meat on the side. That's Charleston! A big problem I've had with grits in some of the "local" Charleston restaurants -- the chefs are usually from somewhere other than the South and the grits are bland and undercooked.
I agree with both reviews above - shrimp cook very quickly! Also I am from/live in the Charleston area and agree that there must be bacon or sausage in this recipe! I am all for making recipes more healthy and this may turn out fine but so much of southern cuisine requires pork - ham hock in beans bacon fat for squash etc. Not healthy but fine eatin'!
Im from/live charleston as well and I agree with everyone about adding the bacon. Also there's a little spot Downtown that adds Tasso Ham Sausage and Cheddar Cheese all topped off with Tasso gravy! It's a truly southern way of eatin'!
I tweaked this as well - I added one slice of bacon (browned with the grease) along with 1/2 stick butter and 1/4 c. olive oil. I didn't have stone ground grits so I used Old Fashioned white hominy grits with 1 % milk. The results were delicious!!! I'm definitely adding this one to my regular recipe file.